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Old 01-07-2011, 06:32 AM
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Gem N Ems Offline
Kage no Hikari.
 
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Talking Re: Pokemon: Team StormRiders [PG-13] [Chapter 30; A Brief Impasse]

Hazzuh. I thought it was about time for another chapter. =3


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Chapter 31;
..........inklings of a human


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Tali chose a distant path far, far from where the others had made their camp. She no longer wished for their company, nor did she need it. The quiet calm of the night was all she longed for and it greeted her like a trusted ally, for the two had once been very close. That Pikachu had cut into her deeper than almost anyone; through the flesh down to the very bone, even to her soul. The pain that she felt – renewed once she had mentioned Rakai’s name – she had not experienced in such a long time it was almost like a lost memory. She should have known that memories always come back to haunt you when you least expect it.

Rakai…

It was true the Weavile in question was now one of the Hunters; a known notorious group of Dark Sneasel and Weavile under the command of Deoxys, their claws infected with the ability of shadow poison, through which more Dark Pokemon could be bred. It was also true that those Weavile once happened to be kind souls. At the very least, Tali knew Rakai was. But what had happened to him had changed him forever and he was no longer the Weavile she had known. Yet… she was sure part of him still existed somewhere, deep within.

“Oh, Rakai…” Her own mutter sounded weak and pitiful, even to her ears. “Rakai, where are you?”

Raising her head to the sky, she glanced at the moon, which was a sliver tonight; a full moon had just passed. If she held her paw upwards it could completely cover it until the sky was moonless and just a desolate, dark place like everywhere else. Sighing, the Buizel returned to her solemn pacing, finding comfort in the repetitive thump of her feet on the path. It was then that a familiar voice entered her mind, and with it, the image of a young Sneasel.

---

Tali, look at this. See? My claws are bigger than your paw even! Look how big I’ve grown!

Rakai! You’ve grown so much. It… it’s so good to see you again…

Yes. You too, Tal. I missed you.


---

“Stop it!” Tali growled into the starlit sky with frustration, panting hard and eyes wide. “I never gave you the right to mess with me! Stay. Out. Of. My. Head!”

---

Hahaha! I beat you again! Listen, Tal, you’re never going to win if you keep up the same strategy again and again and again… It’s tiresome.

B-but I was hoping I could beat you with brute strength…

Oh? Strategy hurting your brain? Hahaha!

WHAT?! No! Listen here, tough guy. I will beat you!


---

“I said get away!” the Buizel cried into the air, raising her paws to cover her head as she fell to the ground in pain. It had never hurt so much to remember the past. She never wanted to remember it; all she wanted was for it to be gone. The taste of salty tears filled her mouth as she gasped into the cool air which felt like piercing daggers to her heart.

---

Friends forever. You and I. Promise.

---

“RAAAKAAAI!”

***

Tali hadn’t returned since last night and we couldn’t move on without her. At least that was what Lani had said. To be perfectly honest, I was fine with leaving the uptight Buizel by herself. She’d caused us nothing but trouble so far, especially when I didn’t do a thing to deserve it! The only thing about her that interested me right now was those bands.

What I had felt upon encountering them was strange enough; a dark, hollow feeling, much like being in Rye’s presence when he turned. But that wasn’t the only odd thing that unnerved me. I wondered how she had got her paws on those bands to begin with. If they were some evil tool to be used, that put Tali under a lot of suspicion in my eyes. Our little gathering I had kept secret from Lani, mainly because I had no idea how she would react. And if Tali found out another knew she might run off with the bands before I had a chance to even get to them. I wasn’t certain about much these days, but I knew I needed to get those bands. Before someone got hurt. A sigh escaped my mouth as I realised it was no use; I’d just have to be patient and wait.

The day had been rather dreary so far, grey clouds frolicking in the sky, but it hadn’t rained yet. The weather was making me rather sleepy so I suppose I could take a nap. A little one wouldn’t hurt, and Lani was off exploring the area nearby and to gather supplies before we left. Yes, a nap seemed like a good idea.

I’d also felt a lot better about Rye since I had mentioned it to Lani, and though it still hurt when I thought of him, a little piece inside me had begun to heal. I could tell she would keep my secret and not tell a soul; that was just the way Lani was, and was just the way I liked her.

Thinking of Lani soon turned my thoughts to Jarre, Dash and Codan. I hoped Jarre was doing alright, especially with Dash following in pursuit. I hoped Dash was alright. It wasn’t my idea to stick the two together, but they wanted a team with type advantages, Codan had said. Not the smartest move, but he was the eldest and the main choices were his to make.

It was with that thought I found my favourite tree by Lake Siuryen and curled up beneath it. All too soon drowsiness came over me. The gentle swaying of the wind echoed through my ears with a whoosh whooooooosshhh. The calming noise made my eyelids droop and my head feel heavy. I did not know when I finally succumbed to the calls to sleep, but it came over me so suddenly I was pulled under completely. Dead to the world.

***

A young boy stood before me, a human, no older than seventeen or so. Bright brown eyes welcomed me along with a gentle smile. He wore dull blue jeans with a dark grey shirt, brown hair covering his head in a mess. Again, it seemed he hadn’t brushed it. But that was Cody. That was my friend.

“Hey, Zanna. You’re late, or did you forget again?” His face stretched into the usual grin he wore when in one of his happy-go-lucky moods.

“I did
not forget,” I pouted up at him, reaching to tousle his hair before he swatted me away. “You know I just like arriving fashionably late.”

“Hahaha! You know there’s fashionably late, and then there’s just plain late. Guess which category you fall into?”

“Oh, very funny, wise guy.” I ignored the clear smirk on his face and strode right past him. “Ladies first. And since I’m the more manly one here, you first.” Halting, I paused to think. “I also have no idea if that was an insult to myself, or you.” I broke out in laughter, eyeing him with a smile that played about my lips.

“Alright, let’s both go,” he suggested, walking to my side. “The manly girl and the girly man.” A cheesy grin greeted my inquisitive gaze.

“Cody?”

“Yeah?”

“You’re an idiot.”

An airy laugh filled the air as he strode on ahead, raising a hand in acknowledgment. “Say whatever you like, you know you love me!”

“Whatever…” I muttered under my breath, knowing his comment to be true. Still, all the love in the world could not make him revert from being an idiot. It took all the strength I had to bite my tongue and not remark on that fact. Who cared anyway, I’d just get him back later.

I made to follow Cody when my ears picked up a sound that wasn’t the gentle thud of my footsteps. Taking a glance from the corner of my peripheral vision, I spotted a couple of shadows dancing about the corners of a stone wall nearby. The shadows of other humans. It was clear from the yelp that issued from that same direction that they were causing trouble.

“Zanna, what’s up?” Cody had reappeared behind me, gently grabbing my arm and following my gaze. “We don’t know what’s going on over there. I don’t think we should investigate. Besides, I’m not really in the mood to be getting us out of the trouble you always get us into.”

“Well that’s hardly my fault,” I said innocently. “Trouble usually finds me.” Which was true. “I’m going to see who or what they’re hurting; it’s your choice if you follow.” Tugging my arm free from his hand, I stealthily made my way to the stone wall as the sounds grew louder. A harsh cry welcomed me and an even harsher laugh in response.

“Hey, Jack, this one looks weak. Let’s rough him up a bit!”

The voices of teenagers reached my ears, and they were full of malice. Local thugs, no doubt. Some of them held quite a hefty reputation around these parts – especially in the ‘bad’ part of town which I liked to stay well clear of.

Edging my footing slightly to hold my weight to my left, I peered round the corner of the wall. There were five men that greeted my eyes; one was smaller than the rest, and one not too far from him already looked unconscious. It didn’t escape my notice that copious amounts of blood had spattered the ground a none-too-healthy pale red. The remaining three were gathered around the smaller two – one further back than the rest – watching.
One of the larger men raised a hand to the air, casually beckoning to another.

“Sure, Keith. I’m tired of wasting my energy on stupid fools. Have your fun.”

“All right!” The man I’d heard speak first, Keith, sneered down at the smaller man crouched on the ground beside what must be his unconscious friend.

“P-please, don’t hurt me!” he stuttered, raising a hand to shield his face should they attack. “J-just let us go. We didn’t mean to bump into you. Honestly!”

“Heh. Wimp.” Keith’s smile widened to reveal yellow teeth and I cringed inwardly at the sight. “We dun’ care what you did to us. We just wanna hurt you!” Without another word he brought the heel of a boot straight down onto the smaller man’s head, knocking his arms clear.

A harsh cry reached me yet again, and a queasy feeling entered my stomach. Cody’s warning echoed in my ears, but I pushed it back. Now was no time to be sickly and scared. I had to be strong for the man who was defending his friend, even though I had no reason to be.

The third man that sided with the bullies had not yet spoken. He wore a dark brown hooded jacket that covered his face, hands resting in pockets. His gaze was cast to the small man, but I could not tell what expression he wore, or if it was someone I knew.

“Hahahaha! Scream, kid!”

“ARRRGH!”

“C’mon! Don’t like the taste of my boots? Let’s see. LICK THEM.” Keith raised his boot and shoved it clear into the smaller man’s face, possibly breaking a nose in the process, for more howling ensued. He laughed harshly and drew back his foot, making to ram it again, but at the last second the third man stepped in and grabbed hold of Keith’s shoe.

“That’s enough.”

“But he deserved –”

“I said that’s enough.”

The third man, who I was thinking was the leader in all of this, had finally made his debut. His voice was steely and while it held no hint of regret, did not hold malice, either. Keith gave a begrudging look to the small man and backed off, muttering under his breath. The third man raised a hand and grabbed the edge of his hood, slowly sliding it back and over his head.

I drew in a sharp intake of breath at the sight of the man who stood before me, for I did recognise him. Those sad looking eyes; that unruly brown hair.

“Come on, let’s leave here,” Hawk told the two men surrounding him, turning from the victims. “I don’t want to waste my time with them.” The two men exchanged a glance with each other and shrugged, obviously knowing better than to pick a fight with their leader. They followed slowly in his wake, leaving one man badly beaten and the other still unconscious.

I was shaking, wondering who those two had been, and why they were with Hawk. Why was Hawk messed up with them, anyway? He was a trouble maker, true, but he wasn’t a bad kid. I knew that. So then…why?

“Hey, you!” I found my voice and shouted, racing around the corner to the two teenagers once Hawk and his cronies were out of sight.

The smaller one, still conscious, started as he heard my voice. “G-go away! We don’t want more trouble!”

As I reached his side, I held up my hands, motioning that I meant no harm. “It’s okay, take it easy. I won’t hurt you.” I knelt down on the sidewalk to examine his unconscious companion. “Is he alive?”

“He’s breathing,” the smaller man said to me, bending over his friend and eyeing me cautiously. “But those bullies roughed him up bad. W-we didn’t even do anything! I was walking past and accidently bumped into one of them on the corner, that’s all! The next thing I know, we’re being attacked. I-I –”

He seemed about to have a panic attack, so I motioned to Cody to get over here and give me a hand. God forbid if he gave me a death stare, but these two clearly needed help. I couldn’t walk away from someone in need.

“My friend here will help carry your buddy. I know of a hospital that’s pretty close by. You need one, too, by the looks of it.” I grimaced mildly and hoped it looked comforting, though I sure didn’t feel it.

“T-thank you,” the man stammered again, raising a hand to pinch his nose as it started bleeding. “My name’s Daniel.”

“Zanna,” I replied with a curt nod. “But now’s not really the time. Come on; let’s help you and your friend.”

“Right.”

Cody helped lift the boy onto his shoulders, Daniel trailing behind me. These two were certainly a sight for sore eyes. I only hoped we reached them in time.


~*~

I leant on my elbows, leaning on the front counter of the reception desk. The hospital was crowded today, and I was waiting for news on Daniel and his friend. Daniel himself hadn’t been beaten too badly; only a broken nose and a few bruises around the face, but other than that he seemed okay. His friend, however, had taken severe bruising to the head, and might even have a fractured skull. They had him hooked up to an IV right now but no visitors were allowed in the room with him. All Cody and I could do was wait.

A puff of air escaped my mouth as I sighed, turning round to face Cody from the counter. He stared at me with his hollow look. The one that meant I was in trouble.“Look, it wasn’t me who did anything this time. You know I don’t like seeing people hurt, least of all when I can do something about it.”

“But Zanna, it wasn’t your fight to begin with. You should have left well enough alone. And the fact that Hawk-”

“Don’t drag him into this,” I warned with a glare. “I don’t want to talk about it.” And that was that. The last thing I wanted to talk about was Hawk being at the scene with two brutally large men who had attacked harmless civilians. But it strayed into my mind that I hadn’t actually seen Hawk himself attack them; only his two lackeys. Was he really that bad after all?

---

“That’s enough. I said that’s enough.”

---

He’d defended Daniel from a final blow, hadn’t he? But still…

“You can come see your friends now.” A nurse in a white outfit smiled warmly down at me. “Just don’t be too long, they need their rest.”

“Thanks,” I muttered, grabbing Cody’s arm and dragging him with me to room 3.01 where they were being kept. I knew it was thoughtful to bring flowers when you saw people in hospital, but I hadn’t known Daniel for too long and his other friend I hadn’t been introduced to at all yet. I’m sure they would forgive me…

***

The murky scene suddenly changed and it took more than a few seconds for me to realise I was no longer at the hospital. When my surroundings materialised again, I was in a small room – alone. I was seated on a double size bed in a space that wasn’t overly large, but just large enough to hold a computer desk, a book shelf and a TV console. A small radio rested on top of the bedside table next to me and it blared with announcements about the morning news. The digital clock on the face of the radio signalled it was just after eleven.

“…Police had just arrived at the scene. Constable James Wright had this to say:
'It looked like a kidnapping that sources say happened around 9pm last night on the 14th of January. We searched the scene for possible signs of a suspect and where the victim had been taken but with little success. We urge that anyone with any information, however small, contact the police department immediately.'"
My interest piqued and I reached out an arm to turn the dial on the radio. Yet another kidnapping.

“Police say the small house had been broken into, but no signs of a struggle could be seen. Regarding the most recent of the kidnappings, this one definitely strikes as highly suspicious. It seems the child could not have gone willingly, as shocked parents protested, and all the doors and windows were securely locked. A stunned mother had this to say:
'P-please! My child is so young; I don’t know who would be awful enough to do such a thing! My husband and I are both terrified for his safety and we just want him back. I-if you happen to see a child matching the description please call! We’ll give you anything just to have our little Miron back safe and sound. We remember like yesterday only his f-first birthday…'”
I switched off the radio, unable to hear anymore. That was the fifth kidnapping to be reported only this week alone. So many disappearances were happening and whilst I was worried for myself, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for all the parents who had lost their children.

The most peculiar thing, though, was that none of these houses seemed to have been forced into. It was almost as if the children had either gone willingly or some kind of weird magic had happened to make them disappear. According to all news reports so far, no signs of a struggle had been evident. But children didn’t just vanish. There had to be some explanation for all of this. Some logical explanation. It just wasn’t clear at this present point in time.

“Zanna!” The voice of my mother drifted up the stairs to my room. “Zanna, I’ve got something I need to tell you.”

Uh oh. From the sound of her tone something was very wrong. I hadn’t done anything lately that would provoke her, so this wasn’t anything to do with me. I trudged down the stairs with a heavy feeling in my heart. Had my dad been hurt again? His job was always so endangering. But seeing the look on my mother’s face told me it had nothing to do with my dad.

“Listen, sit next to me.” She patted the seat beside her somewhat grimly, and I sat down at the kitchen table.

“What is it?” I asked slowly, drawing out the words. “What happened?”

She paused for a moment or two before opening her mouth to speak. When she found her voice, it was in a husk, and she cleared her throat. “It’s about Cody. You see…”

I tuned out. No. Impossible. Not Cody. Not Cody.

Rising so fast from the chair that I knocked it to the floor, my feet carried me from the room and I raced out the front door, ignoring my mother’s pleading cries. Cody’s house was only a few blocks from mine. If I hurried, it would only take me minutes to reach it. I needed to see for myself. I had to. No way would that have happened to Cody. It couldn’t.


[continued in next post]
__________________

Team StormRiders is BACK. Read it here!
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